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Posts tagged renovation
DIY Concrete Countertops

A major point of contention with the house was the hideous laminate that "devoured" the kitchen, as I dramatically liked to say. In the search for affordable countertop fixes, my favorite one was concrete. Coincidentally, it also happened to be the easiest and cheapest DIY! 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • Feather Finish Concrete, I used this one from Home Depot (one bag did the trick!)
  • A drywall knife
  • A small bucket
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Concrete wax, like this one
  • Food safe sealer, like this one
  • A paint brush
  • A polisher
  • A paint stirrer or mixing bit

Everyone's prep work will be different, I've read that you can apply the concrete directly to your countertop after sanding it up a bit. In my case, removal of the laminate layer was necessary in order to get the laminate backsplash off of the wall. Pesky miniature flashing thingy!

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After what I can only describe as a demo derby, it was time to mix the concrete. Mixing was definitely daunting at first, you only want to mix as much as you can spread without it drying in the bucket. It will take a few tries to get the right consistency and amount, but once you get the ball rolling, you'll feel like a certified chemist. Peanut butter is what you're going for.

If you've ever made a mean PB&J sandwich, you can create concrete countertops! Thin layers are key! I tried to avoid as many trowel marks as possible, but in the end, any I missed actually added more "cool factor" in my opinion. You can always sand down your mishaps as well, this project is almost foolproof. Let each layer of concrete dry completely before starting the next one, kind of like painting a wall, if you go to do the next layer before it's dry, you'll just take off the layer you did before. I lightly sanded in between each coat with fine grit sand paper. When it comes to the edges of the counter, I wound up using my finger to press the concrete on. After about three layers, I was pleased with the look and decided to stop. I'm sure I'll eventually add another layer down the road for maintenance purposes, but for right now, I can dig it.

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I brushed on about 3 coats of sealer (sealer + water, then a little less water, then almost none--check the directions on the bottle for exact amounts). Let each layer completely soak into the concrete before applying the next. After sealing comes waxing! This part was fun, I channeled my inner Mr. Miagi by waxing on...then off... The electric buffer made a huge difference in the amount of elbow grease applied. After about 2 coats of wax, I tested the absorbency (we're aiming for little to none here) of the concrete by splashing a few drops of water on it. Nothing soaked in! I was done!

It's been about 2 months now, and the counters still look exactly as they did when I finished them! I'm not sure how an avid cook would fare, but we haven't had any issues so far. I've read that I'll want to seal again every few months, and I started using this stone cleaner as well, just in case. Overall this project took 2 days after allowing all layers of concrete to dry overnight before sealing and waxing. Not bad at all!

Impromptu Bathroom Renovation I

Being a homeowner is fun. Fun, being in that I can smash up hideous bathroom tile with a hammer and not be taken to court over it (I've never been taken to court for smashing up a rental, this is just an example of all my new freedoms!). "But Sara? You've only been talking about the kitchen, when did this happen?" Well, it all started when I decided I couldn't take the existing moldy, deteriorating bathroom cabinet another day and hopped right on the GODMORGON train. Upon further investigation (about 5 minutes before impulsively ripping out the cabinet), I realized that our plumbing was coming out of the floor and not from a discreet hole in the wall. Awesome sauce.

After admitting to myself that I wasn't cut out for this suddenly not so simple switch, I called upon my awesome friends! I suggest always having a few plumbing inclined/carpenter whiz buddies in the mix, they just make life interesting.

The cabinet came apart pretty easily, probably due to all of the water damage from it's loose and leaky faucet. The previous owners skipped tiling under the cabinet, which led us to our new (way sooner than anticipated) bathroom floor. Other than that, we needed to extend the pipe in the floor about 5 inches so that it would sit flush to the wall. A floor joist stopped us from being able to hide it inside the wall. It stinks, but I'm pretty sure those joist things are structural.

This is what was underneath the layers of ceramic tile, cement board, linoleum, and plywood. Hardwood floors! My heavens, if you didn't have so many gaping holes in you, I would've let you stick around. All of those layers of floor had created a two inch step up into the bathroom. Now that everything is level, I can look forward to not stubbing my toe every time I take a shower. It's definitely come a long way in here since this was taken a few short weeks ago, can't wait to share the after!